DOJO

What is the story behind your film?
Shane Lucas, an ex-Yakuza member and 4th degree black belt in Judo, is hunted down at his local dojo in Los Angeles 1985 by his long-time rival, Elias Da Rosa and his crew members from the same crime family. Shane is threatened to come back to the Yakuza or would suffer the consequence of not.

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What should people take away, gain, realize after watching your film?
The principles of Judo and martial arts in general, distinguishing Judo as a martial art system and not as a sport only, the human spirit in overcoming any obstacle that comes in one's way, questioning reality and getting to know ourselves better through constant self-discovery, and brining a mystikal type of environment for the audience to experience to elicit certain emotional responses, having the audience truly be a part of the movie as they watch it.

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Do you think that films can change people for the better or for the worse?
It depends on the film that they watch, if the film offers insight for growth and helps the person question reality as well as take in something that can help them with their own personal lives and in general, then it can help them change for the better.


How was the creation of your project at the time of COVID-19?
It was a bit rocky at first with the mask protocol and actually getting sick myself with Covid during the time we were ready to shoot. I got Covid the very first time as well as a few others in the cast right before we were ready to shoot, so we had to postpone the production for another 2 months.

What creation style did you use in the production of your project? What cameraman elements did you use? We used a combination of action moving to focusing on particular scenes that I wanted to convey based on the flow and style of the story.

How did you select the actors for your project?
I chose the actors based off of their background in Judo, since many of the actors you see in the film are actual Judokas in real life and that I have known for many years through training and in competition. Some are actual Olympians, such as Josue Deprez and I myself am a two-time judo national champion for USA Judo, a Pan-American Bronze Medalist, and a two-time world team member for USA Judo. Some I chose for their characters, such as Christofer Aguero as Elias Da Rosa, and Alex Jacobson for Yomi Nakaya because of their natural profile that I sensed for the character and I just knew they would fit the characters I had in mind when writing the screenplay.

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Why do you think your film should appeal to distributors?
It offers a unique perspective to the martial arts cinema as well as an original concept that we don't see too often these days. This is a story that has the potential to expand in many ways and the audience will enjoy its many dynamic elements that this film has in it, which include a combination of good action fighting, interesting characters, psychological analysis which makes you think of what's going on and adding suspense to the play. We are currently working on the feature film to this short film, which is called "The Way", and so there is a lot of potential for it to grow and have both the martial arts niche specific and general audience be drawn to the story and overall plot.

At which festival has your film been screened?
Dojo has officially won over 35 international film festivals so far with one of them being the Cannes World Film Festival just recently. Other festivals it has one include the Independent Short Awards, Indie Short Festival, and Best Shorts Competition in Los Angeles.

How did your acquaintances react when they first saw the film?
They were amazed at the cinematography, the music, the story, and the actors in the film.

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If you could change something in your film, what would it be?
I would say nothing because at that moment it was the best that we could do and it played out the way it should have.

Which movies are your favorites and why?
My favorite movies include The Matrix, Predator, and Spy Game. These are a few of my favorite films because of the combination of good action, drama, suspense, the soundtrack, and with good detail to subtle things that the audience needs to look out for in the story.

What topics do you like to address in your stories?
I like to address untold stories and stories that most people haven't heard or have not seen yet.

What is your motivation in making films?
Being able to express myself and convey it to the audience, being able to put out to the universe what's inside of me and being able to live it and see it. Being able to escape and live in a whole different reality than what you would in real life.

Which contemporary filmmakers motivate you the most?
Tony Scott and Christopher Nolan.

What projects do you plan to shoot in the future?
We are currently working on the feature film for "Dojo", which is called "The Way" and we should be finished writing the script in the next few months now. From there we would continue to show a production company our script and get the budget that we need to produce this feature film.


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Learn more about DOJO at https://www.dojothefilm.com/